“Why does movie popcorn cost so much?”

Posted by joe

moviepopcornAmerican Public Media’s Marketplace radio show recently asked (and answered) “Why does popcorn at the movies cost so much?” (August 4, 2014, you can listen or read the transcript). While I thought I knew the whole answer, I only knew half. Check if you know the whole answer – and perhaps use this as a discussion topic when you cover pricing.

Can you think of some other reasons why movie popcorn costs so much?

What majors do employers look for most?

Posted by joe

iStock_000012645257XSmallSo what are the bachelor’s degree majors most sought after by employers? This article at Yahoo! EducationMajors That Employers Look For The Most” lists and describes a “Top 10″ and includes a brief description of each major and “Why Employers Love It.” Marketing made the list, coming in at #9.  Many other business majors also made this list, including finance (#1), computer and information systems (#2), accounting (#3), business administration and management (#4), management information systems (#6), and economics (#10). The ranking comes from a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) which surveyed employers and asked what degrees they were keeping an eye  out for.

You might find this article relevant if you are preparing a personal marketing plan or in business school trying to sort out your major.

What is the value of a college education? Insights from Google’s hiring chief

Posted by joe

This New York Times article “How to Get a Job at Google, Part 2” (April 19, 2014) has generated some buzz about the value of college. I particularly like Cathy Davidson’s comments at the HASTAC blog (April 20, 2014).  We provided a brief discussion of the topic on a Learn the 4 Ps post about a month ago, see “Where do you want to work?” (March 21, 2014). The NYT article features an interview with Laszlo Bock who is in charge of all hiring at Google.

I think the articles and Davidson’s commentary should be thought-provoking for current or soon-to-be college students. It suggests how to leverage college to your advantage.

Honey Maid Graham Crackers Celebrates Diversity – Risks? Rewards?

Posted by joe

300Honey Maid brand just launched a new television ad (“This is wholesome”) that celebrates diversity and features a same-sex couple with their baby, an interracial couple holding hands on a walk with their kids, and an African-American father with three mixed race children. Is America ready for this? Is Honey Maid’s target market ready for this?

We could debate the social ramifications here – but that is fodder for another blog. This blog focuses on marketing strategy. So let’s examine this as a business decision for Honey Maid — not a political statement. For some background, check out this article at USA TodayDiversity reaches new levels in Honey Maid ads” (March 10, 2014).

So what do you think are the risks Honey Maid is taking here? What are the potential rewards? How could you mitigate the risk and maximize the reward?

Need a reason to smile? Check out the “Unsung Hero” – great advice leads to great marketing

Posted by joe

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 9.21.38 AMThe Thai Life Insurance Company has produced a video that is beginning to take the Internet by storm. This clearly demonstrates two qualities important for viral success — generating emotion and telling a story. This story needs only a little translation — which is provided with subtitles. It will surely bring a smile to your face.

Will it sell more life insurance? Why? or why not?

Where do you want to work?

Posted by joe

google_betterFortune‘s annual “Best Companies to Work For” issue published last month. Google still tops the list with many financial institutions — which took a hit with the recent recession — climbing back up again.

Have you developed your personal marketing plan? Do you have a marketing strategy to get the job of your dreams? These articles will help you get started — as you can learn more about potential target “customers” (employers) and get some marketing strategy (job-hunting) tips.

In that same issue of Fortune, you can find “16 great secrets from Best Companies recruiters” and “They’re hiring” which features 24 companies that plan to fill 1000 or more jobs each in 2014.  To add to this treasure trove of job-seeking advice, see “How to Get a Job at Google” (The New York Times, February 22, 2014) and some additional advice that will apply to getting a job most anyplace.

Growing food below the city reduces logistics costs

Posted by joe

timthumb 2This article “Vast underground bomb shelter reappropriated by urban farmers” (Wired.com, February 11, 2014), describes an innovative new “farm” located  100 feet below ground in southwest London. Zero Carbon Food uses a World War II bomb shelter designed to hold 8000 people. Fortunately it has not been needed since WWII and it has laid dormant — until now that is. A couple of entrepreneurs are growing broccoli, pak choi, and more using hydroponic growing techniques. One of the benefits — low shipping costs (something to talk about when you cover logistics) — and certainly appeals to the environmentally conscious segment of the market.

What other benefits could Zero Carbon leverage? What suggestions do you have for Zero Carbon’s distribution strategy?

Can you invest one minute for better Google searches?

Posted by joe

Google-Logo“How many Google searches do you do in a week?” I tried to Google that phrase without any luck. But I would guess that most of you use Google pretty regularly for all kinds of searches. It is a great way to gather market information that may be useful in marketing strategy and planning. But I would also guess that most of you use Google in its simplest form — type a key word or two into the search box.

How about investing a minute of your time to learn some tips that will make your searching faster and more fruitful? While the basic Google search is pretty good at finding what you want, you may find it helpful to learn a few tricks. I think you will find the investment worthwhile — and save you more than that amount of time in just the next week. The one-minute video below provides a good start.

And if you are willing to put in another minute out, check out one or both of these articles “6 Google Tricks for Improving Your Searching Savvy” (Fast Company, February 7, 2014) and/or “13 Hacks to Improve Your Google Search” (The Daily Beast, September 15, 2013).

Is this product segmentation gone too far? Does the world need girl’s microscopes, women’s toolsets

Posted by joe

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 9.15.36 AMMaybe the most important concept in marketing is segmentation. And one of the simplest ways to segment a market is by gender. Hey just make a pink version and wa-la, you have a women’s version. Just because you should segment and gender segmentation is easy, doesn’t mean that every product needs a men’s and women’s version. Yes, it makes sense for clothing. But how about pens? Ear plugs? Tea, Energy drinks? This article on BuzzFeed21 Pointlessly Gendered Products” (January 24, 2014) provides some great examples you might find fun to show in class.

What do you think of these gender-driven product differences? Can you think of some other examples?

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future” – but marketing managers have to try

Posted by joe

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future” is a quote usually attributed to Yogi Berra. Of course the challenge doesn’t stop some people and organizations from trying. In fact, that is the job of an organization like JWT Intelligence. This video summarizes “JWT’s 10 Trends for 2014 and Beyond.

Marketing managers often seek to get a jump on their competition by predicting future trends: What colors will be hot this year? What flavors will appeal to customers? What cultural trends are likely to influence demand for my products? 

If JWT Intelligence is right, what new product ideas might take advantage of one or more of these 2014 trends?